Feby 11th 1817.
It wd be an endless task, Dear Sir, to collect the numerous – or rather innumerable blunders of Eng. Botany. I am possessed of it, – indeed was one of the earliest subscribers – but I never refer to it, & should almost as readily apply to Gerard’s <1> Herbal or Ray’s Hist. plantarum <2> for satisfaction in any doubtful case that might occur. Fistuca myuros I never saw growing, or in a fresh state. F. bromoïdes I have often found. Flora Londinensis <3> will be a capital work. My years are too autumnal to allow me the hope of seeing it brought to a conclusion, – & the education of my children put a final stop to my purchase of Books – a source hitherto, of great satisfaction and delight to me. I have heard nothing lately from Hooker. <4> His time is always so fully, & so usefully occupied, that I do not even write to him so often as my inclination wd lead me to do. I conclude his muscologia <5> to be in the Press: – at least my wishes produce this hope in me. We have a very able Botanist in this neighbourhood, of whom you may have heard – a Mr Harriman. He is also, very worthy man, – but withal so recluse and impracticable that I cannot – never could bring him either to give or take. In short he will not communicate, tho’ I have taken at least as much pains as the thing is worth, & in vain, to prevail upon him to be a little more come-at-able. Wd he take to Mosses as he did formerly to Lichens, I shd not doubt the science being greatly benefited. – He disposed of his Lichens to Hooker – & I believe the collection was valuable.
I hope you have not quite deserted old Yorkshire. Take it for all in all, particularly for Botany, & it is far the first as well as the most extensive of Counties. I will not cease hoping to have the pleasure of receiving you at Croft – where you will ever find a cordial welcome from, Dear Sir,
Yr faithful friend & servant
W. H. F. Talbot Esqre
31. Sackville Street
1. John Surgeon Gerard, The herball or Generall historie of plantes (London: 1633).
2. John Ray, Historia Plantarum… (London: 1686–1704).
3. William Curtis (1746–1799), Flora Londinensis, containing a history of the plants indigenous to Great Britain… (London: G. Graves, 1817–1828), volumes 4 and 5 by William Jackson Hooker. [See Doc. No: 00732].
4. Sir William Jackson Hooker (1785–1865), Prof & botanist.
5. William Jackson Hooker and Thomas Taylor, Muscologia Britannica: containing the mosses of Great Britain and Ireland… (London: Longman, Hurst etc, 1818).